Two days after new chairman is sworn in, Churchill says she is stepping down July 11, citing workload
Just when it appeared order had been restored at Saukville Town Hall, another piece of the municipal puzzle will be missing.
Town Clerk M. Susan Churchill submitted her letter of resignation Thursday, June 19. The resignation will be effective Friday, July 11.
In her letter, Churchill said she will be out of town through June 28 on a scheduled vacation, and then return to the office for two weeks.
“I have enjoyed trying to contribute to the town’s well-being,” Churchill wrote.
“I would, however, suggest that this is not a part-time job, for which I was hired. My recommendation is to hire two part-time people, so that there is the equivalent of a full-time person there and there is always someone who is available for coverage of the office.”
She was hired to work up to 20 hours a week.
With a limited staff, Churchill and Treasurer/Deputy Clerk Gloria Arredondo have generally staggered their hours to make sure there was someone at Town Hall during office hours.
The resignation notice came two days after Don Hamm was selected to fill the unexpired term of Barb Jobs as town chairman.
Jobs stepped down this spring to devote more time to caring for her ailing husband.
Hamm’s selection as chairman came last week during a special meeting prior to the Town Board meeting.
In accordance with state statute, Churchill and supervisors Kate Smallish and Curt Rutkowski took part in the secret balloting that led to Hamm’s appointment.
Churchill, an attorney and town resident, began serving as clerk in August 2012.
She worked behind the scene at Town Hall, but Churchill drew attention to the challenges of being a part-time clerk last month, when she gained approval to hire a part-time administrative assistant to organize decades of neglected records.
That position was approved on a three-month provisional basis. Churchill’s husband, Owen Madson, was hired at a pay rate of $10 an hour for up to 20 hours a week, to develop an efficient filing system.
Madson is a retired administrator who worked for 31 years at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and the town’s chief election inspector.
Churchill told the board that slow progress was being made in bringing order to the town’s files. The duration of Madson’s position came into question as supervisors reviewed the minutes of the meeting that cleared the way for the hiring.
Rutkowski said it was not his intention to have a simple report on the progress made in organizing the office after three months. Instead, he said he wanted the board to determine whether the position merited continuation.
“Any vote on reauthorization should be based on need,” Rutkowski said. “My intention was that this would not be in perpetuity. If in three months we find we no longer need the position, we won’t continue it.”
Churchill said her husband might not be interested in continuing the project if it was going to be discontinued at the end of summer.
Smallish said there were signs that Churchill felt overwhelmed by the work that was supposed to be accomplished during her part-time hours.
“At times, the position of town clerk can be a little like being in the middle of a paintball game, with things coming at you from every direction,” Smallish said.
“It is unfortunate this is something Don (Hamm) had to walk into.”
In 2008, town voters approved a referendum making town clerk an appointed position, so the Town Board can hire someone from outside the community to fill the position.